Cutting back

Petr Vladislav Šulc

Cestovatel, publicista a průvodce po zemích jihovýchodní Asie

When I discuss the energy crisis with others, it always comes down to the point, that we’ll have to start cutting back.  But the question is, what exactly will we be willing to do without?

When I try to answer the question honestly, I find myself amazed, that all the things I use I actually need.  For example, I may not have to drive everywhere, but I do need a car to drive to work and to go shopping. Likewise, I need to go to the cottage and on the occasional road trip. I don’t want to give up electric heating, computer or internet… not to mention the fridge and freezer.

My friend says that he would even give up a holiday by an exotic sea on the other side of the world, but he knows for sure, that such an idea wouldn’t sit well with his wife. Another friend tells me how he sorts waste, doesn’t buy plastic bags, turns off lights, and has eco-friendly heating. He thinks this is enough, so he doesn’t understand why he should restrict regular heating as well. And if we did, would there be a cutoff for degrees?

Some of my other friends would be willing to give up “just about anything”, even selling all their electric appliances, never mind the fact that they can’t even seem to run dishwashers or washing machines.

But how about getting into walking?  No. After all, they work hard, so they have to save time and take the train.

Our discussion ends up with all of us reassuring each other, that unless everyone else wants the same thing, our efforts would be useless.  Which always leads us to the same conclusion: Isn’t the biggest problem one of population explosion? There are too many people!  We are in danger of dying from lack of nutrients or drowning in our own garbage.

And what about the number of children we have? I did a short inventory. One couple childless -they’ve got to enlarge the guesthouse and finish the house first. Another friend has a work situation that need to be resolved, a third is waiting to finish her PhD. And my closest neighbor? I remember him once confiding in me, that he and his wife decided, on reflection, not to bring a child into this world. That they couldn’t do that to the child.  The final couple, as gay men, are at this point unlikely to have a child together.

So, as you can see, our group isn’t one that is doing the overpopulating. We can’t be judged for living off offspring, since we don’t have any. So if we were to be composted after death, i.e. recycled, that would be ideal. If only because there’d be no one to visit our graves anyway.

Translated and edited from the Czech original.

published: 14. 2. 2022

Datum publikace:
14. 2. 2022
Autor článku:
Petr Vladislav Šulc